Sunday, April 29, 2007

No real progress to report

I've been sort of floundering in the knitting department. Nothing has been holding my interest this week.

I managed to get my Nantucket Jacket finished up to the armpits. So I am now ready to divide the fronts and back to work on each individually.

I started working on a layette sac from Phildar's website. This has been an interesting project because the pattern is in French. I started it, then frogged it and started again. The directions weren't making any sense at all, and then I noticed at the top, it said "chat". Um, yeah, that does mean "cat", not sac. That would be why I kept ending up with a long skinny tube. When I went back to the Phildar site, I realized what happened. I printed the WRONG pattern ...duh! I printed the correct pattern and started over. It's very boring - all stockinette. Maybe another day.

So I decided to put down my knitting needles and do a little crocheting. I got out a couple of pattern booklets, and chose a baby blanket. I started it 14 times. I gave up and took a nap.

My dyeable superwash sock yarn arrived, and I am ready to give dyeing my own sock yarn a try. I have Wilton icing coloring paste, and I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do. I had great success with Kool-aid dyeing earlier this year, so I feel pretty confident that it will turn out wonderfully. Now I just have to get past sitting at the table looking at the colors and trying to decide how to mix them. Wish me luck!

I'm Potty for Harry ...

I know that there is no way I will get another pair of socks finished for a second sock swap, but I can mange to put a kit together! :) I joined the Hogwarts Sock Kit Swap, and it looks like a lot of fun! We will be making a project bag and stocking it with the goodies needed to make a pair of socks. Of course, there is yet another questionnaire ...

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?

2. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.
Crystal Palace 6 inch - size 1 or 2 depending on the weight of the yarn.

3. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length?
Sure! Anything but Brittany birch - they always break on me.

4. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference?

5. If your pal decides to send candies or chocolates are there any that you don't like?
I can hoestly say that other than vomit flavored Bertie Bot's, I haven't met many goodies I don't like ...

6. What are your favorite scents?
vanilla, cinammon

7. Do you have any allergies?
Highly allergic to cats!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Felted Bag Swap Questionnaire

I joined another swap - The Felted Bag Swap. We are going to swap socks. Oh, no, wait, what are we swapping again??? Oh, yeah! A felted bag ... *grin*

1. How long have you been knitting or crochetting? How did you learn?

I have been knitting for almost 2 years, and I have been crochetting for ...GULP... 30 years. I learned to crochet by looking at pictures in a crochet pattern book. When I was about 13, one of the big fads was a doll with long curly legs and arms. I loved them and made a zillion of them. They looked kind of like the M&M guys in drag. I learned to knit when Jenn brought in her unbelievabley gorgeous Fair Isle sweaters that she was making as gifts in to work one day. She taught me - she is the bestest knitting teacher in the world :)

2. What are your favorite yarns to knit\crochet felted bags with?

I have felted with Woolbearer's Handpainted, Cascade 220, KnitPicks Wool of the Andes, Lamb's Pride, and Jamieson's. All have felted well, and I really don't have a favorite. The color is the most important thing - it has to be the right color for the project.

3. What are your favorite needles to knit\crochet with?

It depends on what I am knitting - I like DPNs for socks, and KnitPicks Options for other items. I have a large selection of straights and circs, and it really just depends on the projects. I use Boyle crochet hooks.

4. What are the last 3 bags you knitted\crochetted (include URL for Yahoo! or flickr album or your blog if you have them!)? You can also link to patterns if you don't have pictures of your finished objects!

a) a green cabled bag with bamboo handles for my Knitted Purse Swap 2 partner
b) a burgundy/green felted purse for my International Tote Swap partner
c) a beige messenger bag for my Knitted Purse Swap partner

5. Do you carry the bags that you make, give them as gifts, or both?

I usually give them in swaps. I have also knitted a couple for charity fundraisers. I usually carry the bag that I receive in a swap :)

6. What is your favorite felted bag that you have made for yourself?

I have only made one bag for myself - it was my first one. It is okay, but nothing to write home about. It is too shallow, but I use it sometimes for carrying a small project.

7. What are your favorite colors? Do you like bags in these colors or choose other colors?

My favorite colors are blue and green, but I love all colors, and there is not a single color that I dislike.

8. Chocolate: White, Milk, Dark, or not so much?

Dark, baby - it's good for your heart ;) or milk chocolate with Hazelnut.

9. Coffee, Tea, or Milk?

Coffee - preferably european style - very strong with cream. I don't do the brown water coffee served at most places in the US. Iced tea, especially sweet tea. Milk with hot out of the oven brownies.

10. Do you prefer sweet or salty treats? What kinds?

I prefer sweet over salty. Chocolate.

11. If you went into Bath and Body Works and could only come out with one item, what would it be and what would it smell like?

Brown sugar vanilla bubble bath. I also like their aromatherapy Sensual Jasmine stuff.

12. Do you enjoy any other crafts or hobbies? Do you collect anything?

I also cross stitch, quilt, and sew. I collect small glass ladybugs.

13. Are there any bag patterns you have not yet knit, but hope to someday?

I saw a really cool pattern for a grey felted cabled hobo bag in one of the knitting magazines at Borders last year, and have been kicking myself for not buying it ever since!! One day, that pattern and I will meet again, and it will be MINE, I say, MINE!!

14. What is currently OTN (on the needles) for you?

a) Natural Dye Studios Sock Club socks
b) Circle of Friendship socks
c) Nantucket Jacket
d) Baby Sac (a Phildar pattern - I am learning to knit in French)

15. What is your most recent finished object before that?

The green cabled purse for my Knitted Purse Swap 2 partner.

16. What's cutest: Puppies, Piggies or Pixies?

Puppies are very cute - I just love the way they romp and play and who doesn't love "puppy breath"?? Pixies are very cute as well, and I have a couple of pixie candle holders that I really like. Piggies ... well, piggies are good for breakfast. Let's just leave it at that.

17. Do you enjoy reading? Books, Magazines, or both?

Yes, I do enjoy reading, but I am kind of picky about my books. I like most magazines. I subscribe to Golf for Women, Interweave Knits, and Better Homes & Gardens.

18. Do you have any children? (kid-kind or pet-kind apply!)

I have 2 children who are grown and live independently. I live with my boyfriend, and he has two teenage sons that we spend time with on the weekends.

19. What are some of your favorite yarns for other projects?

It really depends on the project. Color, hand and drape are the most important factors. For baby items, I like to use Snuggly DK or Plymouth Cherub. For socks, I like superwash wool/nylon blend. For everything else, it depends on the look I am trying to achieve.

20. And for the final question, one I see debated all over: Novelty Yarn: Love it! Hate it! or It depends!

I really don't like novelty yarn scarves. I can't stand anything fuzzy near my face. I have seen some interesting bags with some novelty yarn carried along, and I would like to try that. So I guess I am in the "It depends" group.

About allergies and smoke:
I am highly allergic to cats, and the smell of cigarette smoke makes me nauseous.

Friday, April 13, 2007

An FO!!

I finished my Purse for The Knitted Purse Swap 2. I am very pleased with it, and think it came out pretty good. I couldn't believe how incredibly soft the yarn is - it is Royal Bamboo by Plymouth. I hope that it is durable. One thing that I did not like about working with this yarn is that it splits like crazy! There are about 692 strands, and some always want to stay behind when you try to knit ... ugh! What a pain! But the fabric has a lovely drape, and I can see that it would make a wonderful summer sweater. I might have to bite the bullet and use it again!
I am in the process of packing the box of goodies to go into the mail tomorrow!

I received my first set of stitch markers!

Aren't they beautiful? They were made for me by Marsha, in Rochester, NY. I love the colors - especially the faceted cat's eye beads - very pretty! She included a tin of cinnamon heart - YUM! Thank you Marsha!!

And the Winner Is ....

EVERYONE!! That's right, everyone is a winner at Chez Ladybug this morning :)

Lisa, Cheryl and my SP10 pal answered the question I asked on March 30th correctly. Lisa and Cheryl, drop me an e-mail with your snail mail addy, and I will get your book out to you right away. SP10 pal, TRHM has been sworn to secrecy, so he will e-mail you for your addy, send out your book, and promises not to reveal your identity to me. Or, you can wait until after SP10, and when your identity is revealed, I will send your book. Which ever you prefer.

Stay tuned for pics later today - I have an FO!! and I received the most beautiful stitch markers in the mail!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Vexed by Harry Potter

I have enjoyed the HP movies just as much as the next gal, but I am not really a hardcore HP fan. But lately, every since joining the Hoqwarts Sock Swap, I have been immersed in all things Potter. This link was posted by Becky on the HSS blog, and I couldn't resist trying it. It is a name generator to find your HP name.

I typed in my name, and it came up with Phyllida Kwikspell. Very cool. There is also a male version, and I couldn't help it, I just had to know what TRHM's HP name would be. He always uses his full name, Michael, not Mike for anything official and his middle initial, "C", even though he HATES his middle name. One of the first things he did when we started dating was swear me to secrecy regarding his middle name, so I can't tell you that it is .... HA - I can't tell! Well, guess what his HP name is?? Sirius Butterbeer - I laughed so hard I almost fell off the chair!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Hogwarts Sock Swap Questionnaire

1. What Hogwarts house have you been sorted into?

The Sorting Hat was placed upon my head,
It whispered to me, then it said,
“You are hard working, friendly, and fair,
Hufflepuff will welcome you there!”

2. Shoe size?

My shoes are a size nine,
But make them wide to fit fine.

3. Foot Length? Foot Circumference?

I measured my foot and found it is square,
It is 10 inches here and 10 inches there!
Short socks are best,
To fit all the rest!

4. List your three favorite double-point needle brands, including size and length.

For sock knitting, DPNs are the best
Believe me, I’ve tried all the rest!
About the Magic Loop everyone raves,
All the time and energy it saves!
I’ve tried the Loop, and it left me flat,
Again, I won’t be doing that!
On two circs, the socks, they soar,
So I tried two circs, but nevermore!
Once my faves were Brittany Birch,
They snapped in half, leaving me in a lurch!
Crystal Palace, six inches long, in size two
Are for sock knitting, the only DPNs that will do!

5. Would you like to try a new brand needle? If so, which brand? Size? Length?

I am adventurous, that much is true,
I will try anything, chosen by you.

6. If you are a RAVENCLAW, do you prefer the colors in the film or the book? Do you have a strong preference?

My friends at Ravenclaw, with beauty fair,
Look lovely in any color they wear!

7. Are you willing to have an international Hogwarts Sock Pal?

Wizards are found all over the World,
Socks will be knitted, socks will be purled.
They will be packaged, and by swift owl delivered,
No matter where you are, your location can be conjured!

By the hair of my chinny-chin-chin!

I made it into the Hogwarts Sock Swap! Whew! I was #92, and the cut off is 100! I put on the sorting hat, and was sorted into Hufflepuff. Guess who else is in Hufflepuff? My International Tote Swap partner, and the creator of that gorgeous ladybug bag, Cheryl!

For this swap, we are assigned a partner. We make a pair of socks in their house color (the sorting hat has been very busy!!) and send them to our secret pal with a new pair of sock knitting needles and a stitch marker, also in their house color.

I am working on my questionnaire answers, and will post then very soon.

Row counters

I've received some questions on the row counters, so let me explain ...

Many of you know that I am a no-rules kinda gal - I believe in doing what works for you, not necessarily what the directions or pattern says to do. I guess that is the rebel in me that I inherited from my mother, lol! The row counter is sort of like that - use them the way they work for you!

I use the row counter to keep track of repeats in a pattern. You will notice that one end has one bead between the rings. That is the "start" end. You slip the first ring onto the needle. As you complete the row, you move to the next ring, letting both ends dangle down. I only advance mine on the right side rows, and find them especially useful for keeping track of cables - they are an easy way to keep track of when it is time to cable.

For those of you interested in making them, they are really easy to make. The first thing I do is make a bunch of jump rings (I wrap wire around a large knitting needle), you can also use ready made jump rings available at your local craft store (Michael's Craft, A.C. Moore, Hobby Lobby, etc). Then I make the bead units to go in between the rings. I use sterling silver findings for mine because it is pretty. I purchase packages of eye pins, so I don't have to make both loops :) I use a small seed bead then a larger bead, then another seed bead and use my round nosed pliers to make a loop on the other end. Then it is just a matter of putting together the sequence - ring, bead unit, ring, 2 bead units, ring, 3 bead units ... you get the picture ... You can make these as long as you wish. I find that they are most practical with 5 rings. But hey, no rules, right? So make them as long as you wish!

Friday, April 06, 2007

Stitch Markers

I participated in my first ever Stitch Marker Exchange. I've made earrings, but haven't tried stitch markers. I was feeling adventurous, so I signed up for 3 international partners. Robyn worked really hard, and matched all of us to the number of partners we requested. For this exchange, we are supposed to make 5 markers for each of our partners. I made 5 markers and a matching row counter. One set is mauve and white, one set is green and orange, and the last set is blue and white. I made my own jumprings by wrapping sterling silver wire around a size 11 knitting needle. It was a lot of fun, and I think I will make these sets to send out in all of my various swap packages. They are going in the mail today to Canada, Ireland and Hungary - how cool is that??

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The Great Turtle Race

Did you know that leatherback turtles are over 100 million years old?
There is a website that is dedicated to tracking the journey 11 leatherback turtles are making from Costa Rico to The Galapagos Islands. They are calling it The Great Turtle Race. You can go to the website and choose a turtle to cheer on in the race to The Galapagos. You can also make a donation to leatherback turtle conservation through the site.
Of course, as a Drexel University alumna, I had to choose Drexelina.